What to Dry?
While I am an Omnivore at home, I prefer drying Vegetarian meals when hiking, as they;
- Require less preparation to dry
- Reconstitute quickly
- Need way less energy to eat and digest after a hard day. (for me anyway)
Rarely do i cook just for the Drier, instead I mostly use leftover home vegetarian meals.
- A good quality digital electronic scale
- Food dehydrator (I use the New Zealand made Ezidri Snackmaker) and solid sheet tray inserts.
- 500ml Glad plastic storage container.
- Drink Mug
- Re seal able plastic bags (I use snap lock bags 15 x 9cm)
- 100ml measure (graduated @ 10mls) or 50ml syringe
- Mortar and pestle
- Fine tip marker pen: permanent
- Note pad
The first step for all meals, whether they have previously tested successfully or have not been is to;
1.) Tare the scale to any container and weigh out your preferred serving size. (My tested and preferred meal weight is 250gm’s before drying.)
2.) Note the weight of the serving on the note pad as the “Wet Weight”
If this is the first time I have tested this meal, I take two servings forward to step 3, the remaining servings I freeze in individual containers (*1)
3.) Spread the meal over a solid sheet fitted on top of a drying tray as thin as it will go. My serving sizes usually allow two servings per tray.
4.) Stack all the trays up, put the lid on, the Drier in a well ventilated spot and turn it on. While the Instruction manual gives estimated drying times, I tend to leave it running for 24 hours and then check dryness. (*2)
5.) When done, I Tare a mug containing a zip lock bag (for ease of loading) on the scale and pour each serving in to its own bag, record the dry weight, squash out the air and seal it as soon as possible. (*3)
6.) I calculate the ml’s of water required to re hydrate by subtracting the dry weight (gm)from the wet weight(gm) and recording the answer as in mls, given 1Kg of water = 1000mls.
7.) Add the meal information to the bag;
- Food name
- Date dried
- Add mls to rehydrate
8.) If I have dried the meal before successfully it goes into the freezer until Iam ready to vacuum pack it for a hike.(*4)
If it’s the first time dried I have dried the meal, I put it in the freezer (*5)until I get a chance to test it.
1.) Boil the jug and measure the exact measure of hot water to match the WR, stir into dried meal, cover and wait 5 -10 minutes.
2.) Taste it .. is it a good consistency and edible?
3.) If there are still dried lumps in the meal, then added 100mls of water and bring to the boil stirring.
4.) Taste it again after a couple of minutes (before it burns!) at a consistency that you find favorable, if all the dried bits have gone then you can note the WR to 1-200ml (non precise)
My food Tests
I would love to hear your own adventures in drying (post comments) you can see mine in my post Food successfully Dried
Do please share your drying adventures:-)
(*1) Ensuring the serving size is as flat enough to fit the tray heights in my Drier, as it will go in to the drier frozen later.
(*2) Dryness is usually pretty obvious, most foods either turn to a powder or a hard sharp solid.
(*3) As soon as possible after you have turned off the Food drier you need to get the food into a zip lock bag or air tight container, to prevent it re absorbing moisture in the air.( After weighing i store the air tight container in the freezer until i am ready to vacuum pack for a hike.)
(*4) I prefer to Vaccuum pack my food for hikes to save space, keeps the food dry during inadvertent river/ wet weather dunking’s, and most importantly you know immediately if the bay has punctured or let potentially spoiling air into the food. If you prefer you can just store directly in to zip lock bags, and tape off the seal.